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Secret Shopper Report: Dublin

More than meets the eye

Launched in 2012, our Secret Shoppers are seeking out the best (or worst) of GB’s natural health and lifestyle independents. This time our spy has travelled to Dublin, Ireland, to ask for help with cold sores, hay fever issues and holiday preparations to avoid mosquito bites.

Store location: Dublin, Ireland
Issue enquired about: Help needed with cold sores, hay fever issues and holiday preparations to avoid mosquito bites.

First impressions

The store is in a light, bright and airy shopping centre outside the city centre. Their website address is clearly displayed above the shop sign. I found it to be an inviting store front and windows displayed information and products from A.Vogel and sports nutrition products.

Verdict: 8/10

Store layout

The first thing I was aware of when entering the store were very friendly staff helping customers, listening and advising them.

This is a well-stocked store with well-defined signage so that you can find what you want easily enough. There were discounts clearly marked on products and good posters giving customers plenty to look at. It is busy but not at all cramped with very clean white floors and tidy wooden shelves. The store was clean bright and attractive.

There were comprehensive sections on nuts and seeds, snacks, superfoods, sports nutrition, cereal, dairy alternatives, speciality baking ingredients, herbal teas, sugar alternatives, supplements, eco household and an excellent bodycare section.

A big wall of fridges along the back were stocked with vegetarian alternatives, healthy ready meals, dairy alternatives and some supplements were also kept in the fridge.

Verdict: 8/10

Personal attention

I was delighted with the personal attention I was given in the health store. I was helped by two members of staff with a number of issues and they were genuinely interested in giving me the best advice for my needs. They looked smart in uniforms and wearing name badges.

I asked for natural help for cold sores. A lysine supplement was recommended and a natural cream A.Vogel Bio Propolis (€8.99).

Next we moved on to how to prevent being bitten by mosquitos and other insects on holiday – it was recommended that I take odourless garlic for up to two weeks before going away and from a range I chose Quest Kyolic Garlic 600mg – there was a 1000mg but with 50% extra free on the 600mg we decided it was better value to buy those and take two a day instead of one (€18.69). I asked could my daughter who is 9 take them and they said it would be fine if she would swallow a capsule. Staff also recommended I take a B1 supplement, but after some research on the computer we found that there is sufficient B1 in the multivitamin I am taking.

We also discussed creams for dry skin on the feet and sore dried out hands and a Lavera all in one hand crème in a tin was recommended.

While I was standing at the checkout I saw some HayMax hay fever balm and decided to buy the lavender one for my daughter who is susceptible during the summer – bought the 5ml lavender one for €9.25.

I broke my budget and bought more than I planned.

Verdict: 10/10

Check out

The checkout service was an extension of the good service I had received up to this point and I was happy with it. My only criticism was that I wasn’t offered a loyalty card, social network etc but that is minor when compared with the happy experience I had shopping here. Yes I would return and recommend it to others.

Verdict: 9/10

Overall impression

What a great store, very well organised and with excellent staff. It seemed a little expensive compared to some other health stores I have visited. By far its best asset is its excellent friendly and helpful staff who knew the products inside out and answered some quite challenging questions from the secret shopper.

Verdict: 9/10

Total marks: 44/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...

Read about the winning store in the 2014 Secret Shopper Awards here...